Investing with a gender lens

The COVID-19 pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities. This specifically affects women entrepreneurs: it reduces their economic independence and adds to their workload. Gender Lens Investing can mitigate these effects, increase returns in investments and lead to gender equality. ITPO Germany acknowledges the business case and benefits of Gender Lens Investing and has started profound capacity building.

The effects of investments are not neutral. They can do harm, they can amplify inequalities – or they can be sustainable, inclusive, and lead to long-term socio-economic development. Research clearly proves a gender gap in finance. Non-access to financing and technology creates disadvantages for many women. Women are underrepresented in investment and finance, both as investors and investee. Gender Lens Investing (GLI) addresses this gender gap and can foster resilience of future economies and societies.

But what exactly is meant by Gender Lens Investing? Gender lens investing is a strategy to obtain financial returns while advancing gender equality (IDB Invest. 2019). This can have different forms: It can mean to investing in women-led businesses. It can also mean to invest in companies that practice gender equality or achieve gender equal development. Or investing in companies that develop products or services that benefit women or support gender equal relations between men, women, boys, and girls.

In December 2020, ITPO Germany supported the GMIS capacity building webinar “Industries post-COVID-19: Promoting Gender Lens Investing for the global economic recovery”. International GLI practitioners requested donors, development experts and investors

  • to bridge capital or additional financing for women entrepreneurs to be able to transition to business models where they are digitizing their operations or quickly adopting technology

  • to actively reach out to women, foster financial inclusion and yield better financial investment for women

  • to analyze gender patterns and gender biases in investment

  • donors to use innovative finance and in particular risk-sharing, a blend of public and private funds to mobilize all investors, from impact investors to institutional investors

The full webinar can be accessed here:

To further complement UNIDO’s capacity building activities ITPO Germany joined a UNIDO task force on GLI, consisting of the UNIDO Gender Office, the Private Financing and Advisory Network (PFAN), the Cleantech Innovation Programme (GCIP). By designing and co-financing the development of an e-learning course on Gender Lens Investing, ITPO Germany seeks to raise awareness on the benefits and business case of Gender Lens Investing and provide information on how to integrate it into the day-to-day-work. In details, the e-learning series will

  • include an introduction to ready-to-use frameworks for investment strategy development

  • explore opportunities for Gender Lens Investing in public and private markets

  • provide insights into the collection and utilization of sex-disaggregated data

  • inform how to integrate a gender lens across the major steps in investment processes

  • show how to apply a gender lens to Climate Risk Finance and Insurance

ITPO Germany is proud to support this future-oriented and innovative way to investment. The course will consist of six modules and is expected to be launched by June 2021.